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How lung cancer spreads to the brain

By Michael Bartlett

Posted on July 13th, 2020

In people with lung cancer, metastasis to the brain is quite common, as the original source of the malignant tumors is very close to the organ. If lung cancer spreads to the brain, the patient will experience symptoms such as headaches, confusion, dizziness and changes in behavior and personality.

Metastasis, the process in which cancer spreads from the original area to another part of the body, is very common in people who struggle with lung cancer. Between 10% and 30% of people with cancer will experience metastasis at one point during their lifetime. In 12% of cases, lung cancer will spread to the brain, which causes tremendous health complications for the patient. Usually, lung cancer which is detected too late will metastasize to the brain. It is important for people who have lung cancer which spread to the brain to know that, if they decide to take legal action, their asbestos claim will be expedited, which will speed up the legal process to a great extent so that they can receive the compensation they deserve within the shortest time possible.

When lung cancer spreads to the brain, it will exert pressure on the brain tissue, which may cause a change in the function of the organ. In severe cases, brain damage may occur as a result of lung cancer metastasis. However, some patients whose lung cancer spread to the brain are eligible for surgery, whose purpose is to partially or entirely remove the malignant tumor from the brain. Before the surgery, the patient may have to undergo chemotherapy, radiotherapy or immunotherapy to help reduce the size of the tumor. The symptoms of people whose lung cancer metastasized to the brain include:

  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • seizures
  • dizziness
  • memory problems
  • weakness
  • balance problems
  • numbness in the face, arms or legs
  • confusion
  • changes in behavior and personality
  • loss of bladder and bowel control
  • speech problems
  • trouble swallowing
  • problems with coordination

When it occurs as a result of occupational or military asbestos exposure, lung cancer will take between 10 and 40 years to develop. Approximately 4% of cases of lung cancer are caused by asbestos exposure and every year, over 4,800 people lose their lives to lung cancer which stems from asbestos exposure. However, because lung cancer, particularly small cell lung cancer, is very aggressive when it is the consequence of asbestos exposure, it may spread to other parts of the body in addition to the brain, such as:

  • the liver (35% cases)
  • the adrenal glands (33% cases)
  • the bones (15% cases)
  • the kidneys (11% cases)
  • the myocardium (9% cases)
  • the pancreas (5% cases)
  • the spleen (4% cases)
  • the stomach (3% cases)
  • the intestines (3% cases)

Metastasis to the brain occurs when malignant cells travel through the bloodstream or the lymphatic system from the original tumor to the brain, where they continue to multiply. Thereby, the patient will be diagnosed with metastatic brain cancer in addition to lung cancer. Other cancers which can easily spread to the brain are breast cancer, melanoma, kidney cancer and colon cancer. The last can also be caused by asbestos exposure, as once inside the body, asbestos fibers can travel through the bloodstream to the colon, where they will gradually produce inflammation and tissue scarring. Within several decades, the person will eventually develop colon cancer.

Our attorneys are dedicated to helping victims of asbestos exposure

In the regrettable event that you struggle with lung cancer as a consequence of occupational or military asbestos exposure, our attorneys are here to help you recover the compensation you deserve for your physical and emotional distress. With over 25 years of experience in pursuing compensation for the victims of asbestos exposure and their family members, our law firm will expedite your asbestos claim if you have lung cancer which spread to the brain, which will result in financial compensation faster. Therefore, if you are a former industrial worker or a veteran with a lung cancer diagnosis, we strongly encourage you to take legal action as soon as possible, as asbestos exposure cases have a statute of limitations of 3 years from the moment of diagnosis in most states. Our attorneys, who specialize in toxic exposure cases, will file your claim with the asbestos trust funds of the companies which exposed you to asbestos, as well as with the VA, if you are a veteran who was exposed to asbestos during military service.